ERF 422: How To Transition From A Calorie Deficit To Calorie Maintenance

In this episode of the ERic Robert Fitness Podcast, I give you my best tips on how to transition from a calorie deficit to a calorie maintenance.

I hope this gives you some insight to some actionable steps you can take.

If you are interested in coaching with our team, I can link that here below!

Join Our 1:1 Coaching Program!

https://erfclubhouse.com/

What Is The Best Rep Range For Muscle Growth?

best rep range for muscle growth

In this article you are about to read, I am going to clearly and concisely lay out the best rep range for muscle growth.

I am somebody who tries to spend their time in the gym in the most efficient way possible.

If I am going to give up 45 60 75 min of my day in order to get a workout in, it better be yielding the result that I want.

If the result is muscle building, then there are certain protocols you can and should use in order to achieve that results.

One of them is the best rep range to use to make sure your time in the gym isn’t wasted for no gainz, bro.

No, but really, let’s make sure we take the time to learn this so your workouts can be worth the time and effort you put in, shall we?

Best Rep Range For Muscle Growth

How Does Muscle Growth Occur?

I think the right way to go about beginning to talk about the best rep range for muscle growth is to first talk about how muscle growth actually occurs.

I want to touch on a view different topics that are all going to play a massive role in building muscle, as well as themes throughout this article.

Progressive Overload

I am going to keep this short and sweet, but only because I have already written an entire in depth article about progressive overload on my website as well.


You can check that out HERE if you would like.

Yet for the “cliffnotes” version, progressive overload is very simply…

Doing more over a period of time.

So if 4 months ago you were lifting 10lbs for 8 reps, you better not still be lifting 10lbs for 8 reps today.

You better be increasing the weight you are lifting or the reps you are doing (to a degree, we will talk about this a bit later on!).

Let’s say now you are doing 25lbs for 8 reps, awesome progress man!

Or if last week you did 10lbs for 8 reps, cool.

Next week, you should try to look to do 10lbs for 9 reps. Or 12.5lbs for 8 reps.

This concept of progressive overload is quite frankly an oversimplified one, yet, it is one of the most important ones.

It is just making sure you are doing more “work” over a period of time. In this case, “work” is described as doing more reps or weight in the topic of building muscle.

Why does this need to happen?

Because as I have mentioned in previous articles, for your body to change you need to put a stress on it that is great enough to elicit an adaptation response.

Aka, in order for your body to CHANGE!

If 4 months ago you were lifting the 10lbs for 8 reps, and you are doing still doing that to this day, your body has no reason to keep changing.

It has already adapted to that! Your body doesn’t need to keep changing, it already changed enough to withstand that level of stress you are placing on it.

It did it’s job and it doesn’t need to do more than that. Remember, your body wants to maintain something called homeostasis.


This is essentially staying the exact same. Doesn’t wanna lose or gain anything, it wants to stay right where it’s at because that is the easiest and most efficient way to keep you alive.

YOU are the one who wants to build muscle, therefore YOU are the one who needs to create a stress great enough to elicit an adaptation response.

Which, is why, you need this progressive overload to happen.

Again, if you want more info on this as it is a crucial topic to understand, check out this article HERE or video version HERE.

Mechanical Tension

The next part to discuss when discussing the best rep range for muscle growth is mechanical tension.

To define mechanical tension..

In simple terms, Mechanical Tension can be defined as a force normalized to the area over which it acts..” (Schoenfeld, 30).

In my own personal definition, I just like to think of it as how much tension and force are you creating inside your muscle fibers when exercising.

Think about when you are doing a bicep curl.

How much tension and force are you creating inside that bicep muscle when you are doing that curl?

Are you just kind of dogging the movement, not really pushing yourself, and not putting in a ton of effort?

Or, is that bicep curl you are doing CHALLENGING.

This determines how much muscle is going to be built in that specific muscle.


High mechanical tension = more muscle growth.

Low mechanical tension = less muscle growth.


So the more force you produce within a given muscle is correlated to the amount of muscle growth you will potentially be able to see.

How can you create mechanical tension?

Well, again, without turning this article into a science research paper (because that is probably not why you came here!)

You can create mechanical tension through load (the amount of weight you lift).

The higher the weight you are lifting, the more mechanical tension you create inside a muscle.

So you lifting 100lbs for 5 reps is typically going to induce more mechanical tension inside a muscle than you lifting say 50lbs for 20 reps.

Though, mechanical tension can also be somewhat impacted by the duration of loading as well.

Potentially to a lesser extent, but it is still created.

Think like lifting with a little bit lighter weight and higher rep sets here.

So wait a minute, both heavy weight and low reps, plus, light weight and high reps, can induce mechanical tension?

So that means both are viable options for the best rep range for muscle growth?

Yes, because there is another way to produce high amounts of mechanical tension.

Let’s talk about it.

The Best Rep Range For Muscle Growth

They All Work!

Here is the honest answer to this question.

Technically, you can build muscle in any rep range.

Light weights for high reps technically can build muscle.

Heavy weights for low reps technically can build muscle.

Moderate weights for moderate reps technically can build muscle.

They all work (though, stay tuned, because there is a “best” one you will figure out later on!).

There is one key denominator that has to be present though.

This Is The Caveat.

You have to take your sets close to failure.

This is the caveat.

You can build muscle in any of these rep ranges so as long as you take the set close to failure because that is what triggers a high level of mechanical tension inside the muscle.

So if you are doing a bicep curl for 6 reps and you take it close to failure, you will have high mechanical tension, and you will be able to build muscle.

If you are doing bicep curls for sets of 20, and you take it close to failure, you will also have high mechanical tension and be able to build muscle!

Now, what do I mean when I say going close to failure?

Great question.

This is something 99% of the average gym goer really doesn’t comprehend, and it’s a shame, because it may be the most important thing.

I am going to put a video here below of me performing a set that is taken close to failure, then, we can talk about it after.

.

In this video I am doing a 1 arm landmine row or a “Meadows” row, in honor of John Meadows, RIP.

I want you to notice something about this set that can make you look to understand what it means to “go close to failure”.

  • Notice the speed of the reps. I am doing about 8 reps here. Look at the speed of reps 1,2,3 and 4.

They are moving at a pretty good pace right?

No real “struggle” yet.

Now, go back and look at the last couples of reps, reps 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Notice how I was moving the weight up on the concentric portion (concentric just means on the way up, so think up on a bicep curl or up on a shoulder press) at a good speed.

Yet as the reps got farther and farther into the set, the speed on the way up started to slow down. Involuntarily, I might add.

Meaning I was not trying to slow down on the way up.

It was purely happening because my muscles were starting to get fatigued and I was pushing close the failure.

The last rep or two you can really tell the speed slows down.

THAT, my friend, is how you know if you are truly close to failure or not.


If the speed on your last couple of reps starts to involuntarily slow down on the way up,
then your muscles are getting close to failure.

.

If not, then you aren’t close to failure, and you either have to lift more weight or do more reps to get there.

Also take note of my form here.

I didn’t massively start to break down form and hump the air to get the weight up.

I was simply taking the set close to form failure.

If you are looking to build muscle, this is one of, if not the most important skill you are going to need to understand how to do.

If not you won’t be able to ever maximize your muscle growth, no matter what reps you are doing.

And before you ask me…

Yes, this is what EVERY SINGLE WORKING SET should look like.


If you don’t know the difference between a working set and a warm up set, or what a working set is, click HERE to listen to this podcast where I explain it in depth.

Seriously, I get that question upwards of 20-50x per day. The answer is in that podcast if you give it a listen.

Now, What Is The “Best” Rep Range For Muscle Growth?

Okay, so we know that technically speaking you can build muscle in any rep range as long as you go close to failure.

Cool, but that still doesn’t mean there isn’t a best rep range for muscle growth, because there is.

Typically I like to breakdown rep ranges into 3 categories.

Heavy” – 1-5 reps

Moderate – 6-12 reps

Light – 12-20+ reps

( “heavy” is in quotation marks because we will talk about this later!).

Let’s break down the pros and potential cons of each rep range in their relationship to muscle growth.

Heavy 1-5 Reps

When you are lifting in the 1-5 rep range, you are inherently going to be lifting “heavier” weight.

Think about it. How much weight can you do for 3 reps of a squat vs 20 reps of a squat.

Let’s just say it’s 300lbs vs 150lbs.

For no other reason other than the lower rep range you can lift “heavier” weight.

Again, as we learned aboved, the lower rep ranges and higher weight typically lead to higher amounts of mechanical tension.

Which, is a good thing, when we are trying to build muscle!

Also, these lower rep ranges are able to work in a lot of neurological strength as well.

Most people don’t know but there is in fact a difference between building strength and building muscle.

You can have both at the same time and they often do go together, but they don’t have to.

Strength is a neurological adaptation.

Building muscle is a physiological adaptation.

You can get neurological stronger without necessarily adding more lean muscle mass to your body.

Vice versa though, you can add lean muscle mass, without necessarily gaining a ton of strength.

When you train with a bit heavier weights that allow for more mechanical tension, there is research to show this is also going to positively impact your strength gains / performance as well.


Therefore, higher weight and lower rep style sets can be great for building muscle AND strength.

Which, a stronger muscle has the potential to be a bigger muscle because it can produce more force and lift heavier weights.


Yet here are the potential drawbacks.

When you are doing such heavy, low rep work, inherently you are putting a ton of stress on your

  • Joints
  • Tendons
  • Ligaments
  • Connective Tissue
  • Muscles
  • Central Nervous System

& more.

This is okay in small doses, but in order to build any amount of significant muscle, you are going to need higher volumes.

When we talk about “volume”, I am referring to the number of hard working sets per muscle group per week.

Thus over time, if you need to perform a lot of sets in a lower rep range / higher weight style of training, all of those things listed above take a beating.

Not to mention mentally speaking hyping yourself up to do 5 sets of 3 heavy a** reps of a bench press or deadlift is nothing short of draining over time.

To show up in your workouts having to do that week over week can be a bit taxing over time. Which can lead you to not actually having the intensity needed to lift the weight you need to lift or push close to failure.

Thus, minimizing your results.

Therefore if we are solely focused on muscle growth, then doing higher amounts of muscle combined with lower rep, higher weight work can be a perfect cocktail for an injury and or under recovery over time.

Making it maybe not the “best” rep range to do a LOT of work in if your main goal is to build muscle.

Notice I said “a lot” of work..I don’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t do ANY work here. More on that to come.

Light – 12-20+ Reps

best rep range for muscle growth

You may have heard or seen tons of bodybuilders talking about lifting for “the pump”.

They would say the best rep range for muscle growth is by doing super high volume, tons of reps, tons of sets, just “burn” the muscle up.

And again, as mentioned previously, you can in fact build muscle in any rep range. Obviously so as long as you take it close to failure!

Yet here is the issue with light weight, high rep training when it comes to muscle growth.

First off, the mechanical tension you get from doing a set of 20 reps is inherently lower only because the weight is lower.

Yes, you can take this set close to failure, but even still the mechanical tension will be lower a tad lower.

If we know mechanical tension is higher with heavier loads, and mechanical tension is important for muscle growth, then we typically want to train in a way to MAXIMIZE that mechanical tension.

Also, while you may be able to build some muscle in this rep range (maybe, we will talk about that in a second!).

You are going to usually not build much strength in this rep range because the load you are using is so light that you don’t get the positive benefits of the neurological strength gains.

You may get some muscular endurance / stamina gains, but you most likely will not get any strength gains.

Therefore if you are someone who cares about getting stronger, these rep ranges may not serve you MUCH use.

Not to say they can’t be implemented, they certainly can, but I just wouldn’t make them a large portion of your training.

.

Not to mention that when we talk about going to failure with 12, 15, 20 + reps, we often don’t go to failure with our muscles.

Meaning, our muscular ENDURANCE or our cardiovascular system typically starts to fatigue before our actual muscle fibers do.

Therefore, you may be “burning out” during a 20 rep set.. But it isn’t because your muscle fibers are burning out, it’s because your muscular endurance and or your cardiovascular system is getting close to failure.

Which is why you may improve your cardiovascular system or muscular endurance because you are taking THAT close to failure, but you aren’t necessarily taking your muscles close to failure via mechanical tension.

Thus making this maybe not the best rep range for muscle growth.

Moderate 6-12 reps

You may have seen before that the best rep range for muscle growth is in that 6-12 rep range.

Truthfully, that would be about right.


In this rep range it allows you to..

  • Lift “heavy enough” weight to maximize the heavy loading for optimal mechanical tension, without going TOO heavy where you beat your body up too much, or without going TOO light where you are working more muscular endurance instead
  • Allow for proper neurological strength adaptations to come along with it as well – allowing for both strength and muscle gains
  • Allow for proper training volume over the course of the week to optimize muscle growth (sets per muscle group per week) without being under recovered or increasing risk of injury

How To Split This Up?

I said earlier that you don’t need to NOT do 1-5 reps or 12-20+ reps.

There is merit to doing all types of rep ranges in your training in order to create a fully well rounded physique and performance within your body.

Here is how I typically like to split up the rep ranges when.

65-75% of your volume (sets and reps) should come the 6-12 rep range

25-35% should come from the 1-5 & 12-20+ rep range.

This can be over the course of a week or a single workout. I like to do a single workout split up.

I can drop an example here below.

.

BB Back Squat 3 sets of 5 reps (lower rep, heavy work)

BB RDL 3 sets of 6-8 reps

Reverse Lunge 3 sets of 6-10 reps

BB Hip Thrust 2 sets of 8-12 reps

Lying Leg Curl 2 sets of 12-15 reps (higher rep, lighter work)

.

Notice how the first and the last exercise were around the 1-5 and 12-15 rep ranges.

Then the middle 3 exercises were in that 6-12 rep range.

Out of the 13 total sets in this workout, roughly 65% were coming from the 6-12 rep range.

I like to dedicate the heavy, low rep strength work to the compound exercise for that day.

In this situation it is the back squat. You can get in some of the heavy work to increase strength to then help you over time continue to lift more weight in the 6-12 rep range.

Which, if you lift more weight in the 6-12 rep range, you can build more muscle due to heavier loading and more mechanical tension.

Then for the lying leg curl I did 12-15 reps.

Here you can work a little bit of the higher rep work, get more of that “pump” factor, and take it close to failure in a higher rep range.

I like saving the higher rep work for isolation work. Things like leg curls, leg extensions, bicep curls, tricep extensions, etc.

These isolation movements typically respond well to a tad bit higher rep work due to the inherent nature of only working ONE muscle group at a time.

By the the way, if you want to learn more about how to set up a daily workout routine, I did a super in depth podcast HERE on that if you want to check it out.

Going “Heavy”

Earlier I mentioned “going heavy” and I put it in those quotation marks.

While yes, inherently lifting 5 reps you are going to lift more weight than you would for 12 reps, that’s true.

Yet all of your exercises should be “heavy” because you should be taking all of the exercises close to failure!

What might be “heavy” for a 5 rep squat might be different than what is heavy for a 12 rep bicep curl.

Yet for THAT exercise, in THAT rep range, you need to pick a weight that is “HEAVY” for that.

Just because it’s 12 reps it doesn’t mean you aren’t going “heavy”.


No.


You are going “heavy” for that exercise and that rep range that is given because no matter what you should be going close to failure.

Best Rep Range For Muscle Growth

Well, that’s a wrap folks!

Hope you enjoyed this article and hope you got some value from it.


If you did, feel free to share it with someone.

As well as if you read this and you are like “hoooollyyyy … information overload!!”.


Don’t worry, we got your back.

We do in fact offer coaching options that take all of this guesswork out of it for you so you can just get the plan and dominate.

If you want to check out our group coaching The Clubhouse, I can link that right HERE.

Inside the Clubhouse I write a new workout program each month for the group.

Or, if you were more interested in in depth 1:1 coaching, you can fill out our application form HERE for that as well.

Either way hope it helps and look to chat soon.

-E

ERF 421: What Keeps You Motivated To Keep Going, Tips To Control Binge Eating, Gaining Muscle While Training For A Marathon, & More

In this episode of the Eric Roberts Fitness Podcast I go through a Q&A with myself and my assistant coach Linda.

We talk about a wide variety of topics from what keeps us motivated, to binge eating, to the best hamstring exercises, and more.

Hope you enjoyed this episode and hope you got some value from it.

If you are interested in coaching with us, I can drop the links here below for our Clubhouse and or our 1:1 coaching!

https://erfclubhouse.com/

Join Our 1:1 Coaching Program!

ERF 420: 6 Non Negotiable’s To Make A Sustainable Lifestyle Change

In this episode of the Eric Roberts Fitness Podcast I speak about my 6 non negotiables when it comes to creating a lifestyle change.

A sustainable lifestyle change that is because that is truly what myself and my “brand” is about. Not just seeing progress but maintaining that progress forever.

Hope you enjoy the episode. If you are interested in coaching, you can check out the links here below for our Clubhouse or our 1:1 coaching.

https://erfclubhouse.com

Join Our 1:1 Coaching Program!

ERF 419: Does The Order In Which You Do Your Exercises Matter?

In this episode of the Eric Roberts Fitness Podcast I go over why the order in which you do your exercises matters.

I made a podcast about this a few years back I believe, but wanted to resurface it because I have gotten a ton of questions on it recently.

Hope this podcast helps you and if you are interested in coaching, I can link our Clubhouse or our 1:1 coaching application form here below.

https://erfclubhouse.com

Join Our 1:1 Coaching Program!

How Often Should You Workout Your Abs : Your Complete Guide

how often should you workout your abs

I know, you want a 6 pack, and you are wondering how often you should workout your abs.

I wondered the same thing back when I first started working out as well.

Hence why I was the kid doing 100 sit ups each day before I went to bed!

Then it went into spending at least an hour per day in the gym doing various different ab exercises.

Luckily, I found a better way to go about developing ab muscles and just because I love you, I am going to share that way with you right now.

You just have to promise to love me back and stick around to read the entire guide. Otherwise, you will miss pieces and won’t be able to see as good of progress.

We got a deal?

Cool, let’s hit it.

How Often Should You Workout Your Abs

Seeing Your Abs

Before we dive into the actual training part of things, this needs to be said.

What you must understand is that everyone has abs. Yes, even you who are reading this right now. I know it may seem shocking but all of us have ab muscles.

Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to stand upright, hold our internal organs in place, etc.

Now, your abs are a muscle which you can “hypertrophy” ( make bigger / more defined ) so you can certainly do exercises that can make them “pop” more.

Yet this will remain true..

No matter how much you workout your abs, you will never see your abs unless you are at a low enough body fat percentage.

That’s it, bottom line, no other way around it. You need to be lean enough in order to actually see your abs.

The only way to see your abs is by being lean enough. People then ask me “Well how lean, Eric?!”.

Well idk, can you see your abs yet? No? Cool, then get leaner.

The way you “get leaner” is by simply losing body fat.

You lose body fat through eating in a calorie deficit. I have talked at nauseam about a calorie deficit before here on this website or on my youtube channel, so check either one of those two completely free resources out.

Yet the truth remains, most people think they can just “crunch” their way to seeing their abs.

Sorry man but that won’t happen. No amount of ab workouts are going to allow you to see your abs if you aren’t at a low enough body fat percentage.

So, Does That Mean You Shouldn’t Workout Your Abs If You Have Body Fat To Lose?

I get this question as a follow up a lot. People tend to ask “Well, if I can’t even see my abs unless I lose body fat, are they a waste of time to train them until I get lean enough!?”.

The answer is no, it is not a waste of time, and you do not have to wait.

For the first reason of you can still get stronger. Having a stronger core is going to help you in every single area of life no matter what.

It will protect you from injury, get you stronger in your lifts, help with posture, etc.

Also, remember abs are a muscle just like any other muscle. Therefore if you work them properly (as you will learn how to do by the end of this guide) then WHEN you lose the body fat, you can then make your abs “pop” more.

We can talk about this a bit more in depth here below, but in short to answer this question…

No, it is not a waste of time, and no, you do not have to wait until you are lean enough.

Two Main Goals

how often should you workout your abs

Now that we have that out of the way, when talking about how often should you workout your abs, there are usually two main goals at play.

The first is going to be what we talked about above, for aesthetic reasons.

You want to have a more defined stomach and see your abs “pop” a bit more.

I know I mentioned that doing ab exercises won’t automatically make you burn belly fat to see your abs more. That is done through you eating in a calorie deficit and losing body fat.

Yet there are specific exercises you can do to make your abs “pop” a tad bit more as you get down to the leaner body fat percentages.

We will talk about those shortly.

The other goal that people usually have with training abs is to get a stronger core overall with the benefit of helping their lower back pain or getting stronger in their bigger compound lifts (squat, bench, deadlift, chin up, etc).

Yes, if you didn’t know, if you suffer from lower back pain, it could be directly correlated to your core strength (or lack thereof).

I was someone who struggled with lower back for many years but when I finally took my core training seriously, along with fixing some form / mobility issues, I saw a massive improvement in my lower back pain.

Both goals are valid and they require somewhat of a different approach to training because the way you would train for aesthetics differs than that of more of a strength purpose.

Don’t you worry though, we are going to cover both here in this guide, so you are in luck!

Let’s break down some of the different ways to train your core.

How Often Should You Workout Your Abs : 5 Main Exercises

When you are talking about ab exercises, there are 5 main ways you can train your abs.

Those are going to be..

  • Breathing / Bracing
  • Anti Extension
  • Anti Rotation / Anti Movement
  • Loaded Carries
  • Flexion

Let’s cover each one piece by piece.

Breathing / Bracing

This is the most fundamental part of training your abs.

If you do not comprehend this part then your ab training will greatly suffer.

Not only will your ab training suffer, but your other workouts will suffer as well.


Either by not being able to be as strong as you possibly can and or getting injured (like what we talked about above).

Proper core bracing and breathing is essential in training your abs from both an aesthetics perspective and from a “functional” strength perspective.

I know it sounds a bit nuts. When you clicked on an article titled “How often should you workout your abs” I don’t know that you expected to be told about how to breathe.

You probably thought you had that down pretty good if you were alive to even read this.

Yet when we talk about breathing for your workouts, there is something called “diaphragmatic breathing” or belly breathing.

If you’ve ever seen a baby lay on their back and breath, they do this perfectly.

Their stomach inflates and deflates as they breath. They are diaphragmatic breathing.

That is what you need to learn to do first and foremost. The video above shows you in depth how to do that.

Essentially what you can do to learn is lay on your back, bend your knees with your feet flat.

Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.

When you breathe, you want to see the hand on your stomach move up, NOT, the hand on your chest.


The reason this is important is because if you do not comprehend this part, you won’t ever be able to have control of and work your abs properly in any exercise.

I promise, I wouldn’t just be re teaching you how to breathe for nothing.

As well as if you are breathing through your chest instead of diaphragmatic breathing, it is going to be damn near impossible to BRACE your core along with it.

Thus leading into the next point which talks about core bracing.

I won’t go too massively in depth on how to brace your core because well I actually already did.

I wrote this article HERE on how to properly brace your core if you want to take a peek at it.

But in short, think about two things when you are bracing your core..

  1. Pooping
  2. Getting punched as hard as you can.

If you need more clarification on that, as mentioned, check out the article above after you get done reading this.

Anti Extension

Now that we have covered breathing and bracing, you are ready for the next step in how often should you workout your abs.

This part is going to be talking about anti extension exercises.

I want you to think of your spine. For the purpose of this article there are going to be three main parts we will be discussing with it.

Extension, rotation / movement, and flexion. Those are three functions your spine is capable of doing.

Now, just because your spine CAN Do those functions, a lot of times we may not want huge degrees of any of those things.

Especially if you are trying to squat or deadlift heavy weights. The force of performing massive amounts of spinal extension while doing a heavy deadlift is a great way to get a compressed disc and hurt your lower back.

Therefore one function of your abs is to keep your spine “neutral” and not allow your spine to extend.

Performing ANTI extension exercises is a way to keep your spine in a “neutral” place.

(People will argue to the death about this. Yes, there is some degree of spinal flexion and extension naturally in your spine, which may lead to a natural “curve” but large degrees of it under heavy loads is not something you want to have happen.)

Anti extension goes a long way in saving your spine from injury as well as making sure you are the strongest you possibly can be during your lifts.

You can leverage proper positioning to move the most weight possible while staying injury free.


Some examples of anti extension exercises are linked below. We will talk about how many reps / sets to do a bit later in the guide.

Bird Dog

Plank Reaches

Deadbug

.

Anti Rotation / Anti Movement

The next form of exercises we are going to cover are anti rotation / anti movement exercises.

Remember a huge part of your ab muscles job is to resist movement and keep your spine neutral while you are performing exercises.

One way they do that is by making sure your spine does not rotate as you perform lunges, shoulder presses, chin ups, deadlifts, anything.

It keeps your spine tight, compact, strong, and in place to once again save you from injury as well as allow you to lift the heaviest weight you possibly can.

You want to almost think your body is a concrete statue.

Trying to be strong, upright, compact, sturdy. You know, all of those adjectives and synonyms.

The purpose of anti rotation exercises is to get you better at doing just that.

These movements may seem “simple”, but trust me, if you do them right your abs will be BURNING.

Pallof Press

Side Plank

Plank Transfer

.

Loaded Carries


Another great way to work your abs is through loaded carries.

I talked breathing and core bracing above right?

If you read the core bracing article you will know exactly what I am talking about here, but for short, I want you to think about your core as an unopened can of soda.

With this unopened can of soda, what happens if you kind of tap the outside of it with your finger.

Does it create any dents in the can?

No right? Why?

Because there is so much internal pressure built up inside the can from the carbonation that it can’t be dented maybe unless you slam it against the wall..

But if you do that, it’s just going to explode anyway.

You need to work on doing the same thing with your core so that during movements like squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, etc, you can have so much of something called


Intra abdominal pressure” built up inside that you are able to be as strong as you possibly can be.

Loaded carries are a great way to work on doing just that.

These exercises are meant to go for more duration or endurance as opposed to reps.

Go super slow when doing them. Again, these exercises I list below may look simple to you, but they are incredibly difficult if you perform them properly.

Farmers Walk

Offset Farmers Walk

.

Flexion Based Exercises

Thus far we have talked about 4 of the main ways to work your abs.


All of them have been more or less about intentionally resisting movement with your spine and keeping yourself strong and braced.

For your knowledge, these exercise variations were more so geared towards the

  • Injury prevention
  • Strength gain
  • Core Stabilization

Type goals.

The next step is talking about flexion based exercises where the goal is actually going to be to intentionally move (flex or round ) your spine.

These exercises are more based around the aesthetics goals of having your abs “pop” more as you get down to a leaner body fat %, but I will say this.

I would usually not recommend doing these flexion based exercises without doing at least some of the strengthening / stabilizing exercises.

Why? Well because it can sometimes lead to injury, especially if you already have been working with a compromised spine position during specific movements.

So although I know you might be like “OH SWEET, THESE MOVES MAKE MY ABS POP MORE, LET ME DO ONLY THESE!”.

I don’t think that would be very wise.

I also don’t think it would be wise to “avoid” them either. Some people will try to tell you flexion based exercises are “bad” for your spine.

I actually used to think this. I don’t think they are inherently “bad” unless you do what I said above with not working in other movements.

Flexion based exercises can be a great addition to your training especially if you are in fact looking to have more defined abs.

I can link some examples below, and remember, the goal here is in fact to actually “round” your spine almost into “bad posture”. That is how your ab muscles actually get work done to them.

A lot of people will do crunches for example but never actually round their spine, so they are just working a ton of neck and hip flexors.

Reverse Crunch

Cable Crunch

Hanging Knee Raises

.

Putting It All Together

Alright, phew. Now that you know the different exercises you can perform to work your abs, it’s time to actually talk about how often should you workout your abs.

As well as giving a sample routine of what this would look like so that you can cover both the strength based work as well as the aesthetics based work.

For how many times per week you should workout your abs, I would suggest anywhere form 2-4x per week.

Remember your abs are a muscle too, they do not need to be directly worked every day or you are going to suffer from overtraining them.

They are already indirectly worked in every workout you do because when you are doing a squat for example, your core HAS To work in order to stabilize your spine like we talked about earlier.

Or even when you are doing a bicep curl to a degree your abs are working to keep your spine neutral.

If you go off and try to train abs 5 6 7x per week, you are doing overkill and will probably do more harm than good.

They need to be worked enough to elicit a response but then be able to recover from that work properly or else it will be all for nothing.

Therefore 2-4x per week is usually the sweet spot.

I also don’t recommend dedicating an entire day to doing abs.

You could in some situations, like if you wanted to maybe workout your abs on a rest day from your workouts here and there.

Yet I usually don’t recommend this a ton because again you want to be able to have your abs properly recover. If you work them everyday you can’t have that.

Plus, I just don’t think you need to be doing that many exercises where you dedicate a whole day to doing abs.

More on that now.

Now, how to go about setting this up?

Here is what I do for all of our clients and Clubhouse members that we write programs for.

Let’s be honest here.. How many times have you said you were going to do abs after a workout…

And that has ended up much like your imaginary friend Jerry. Never actually coming to real life.

Yea, same. I went from going to do hours of abs per week to skipping them every damn workout session.

I figured out why though, I would save them for AFTER the workout. By the time I was done my workout, I was either too tired to do them and said f*ck it.

Or I had to run off to work or something.

Through coaching thousands of people by this point, I found most people had a similar problem.

Therefore, what I started doing plus what I do now with all of our clients is programming 1-2 ab exercises in the warm up for the workout that day.

Again, this is so you actually do them and don’t say f*ck it after the workout is done.

But also there is some merit to “activating” your abs before a workout.


For example, if you are going to do a deadlift, you don’t want to extend your spine right?

Well if you do a plank, which is an anti extension exercise, you are going to basically train your brain to fire those muscles for the workout ahead.

Therefore you can use the exercises to “prep” your body and brain for the workout ahead so to speak.

So as long as you don’t overdo it on the volume (amount of sets and reps).

Which is another reason why I like to throw abs in on the warm up of the workouts.

How much of each should you incorporate?

Well, this somewhat depends on your goals.

As mentioned the exercises provide different benefits, so if let’s say you are really focused on having your abs pop more maybe you include a bit more flexion based exercises.

But something like..

  • 1-2 Anti Extension
  • 2 Anti Rotation
  • 1-2 Flexion based
  • 0-1 Loaded Carries


Throughout the course of a week is a good place to be for the most part.

I would look to include 1-2 exercises for 2 sets in each warm up day.

These don’t need to be super draining or intense sets either. These should be slow, controlled, and properly executed sets. Remember, you don’t need A TON to see a difference in your ab training.

Let’s cover how it might look for a 3 day upper and lower body workout.

Monday – Lower Body

  • Plank (anti extension) 2 sets of 30-60 sec
  • Palloff Press (anti movement) 2 sets of 6-8 reps

Wed – Upper Body

  • Reverse Crunch (flexion) 2 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Front Rack Carry (loaded carry) 2 sets of 30-60 sec

Friday – Full Body

  • Bird Dog (Anti movement) 2 sets of 5-7 reps
  • Band Crunch (flexion) 2 sets of 8-12 reps

Here we have a full weeks worth of ab training. This would be 6 direct total ab exercises for 12 sets over the course of a week.


That, my friend, would be MORE than enough to see progress in both strength, stabilization, and aesthetics over time.

How Often Should You Workout Your Abs : Final Word

I hope you were able to enjoy this guide and get some benefit from it.

I know the answer to how often should you workout your abs may seem simple surface level, but wanted to give you some in depth insight as to the reasonings and WHY behind it.

Hope you can take this info with you and program it into your training.

As well as if you want help with your training, you can check out either our Clubhouse HERE where I give out new workout programs that take out all of the guesswork for you each month.

Or our 1:1 coaching application form HERE for a bit more personalized 1:1 direct help and programming.

Look to hear from you soon,

-E

ERF 418: Focusing On What You CAN Control, Realizing The Body You Can Build, & Only Accepting Positivity, Judith’s Story

In this episode of the Eric Roberts Fitness Podcast we speak with our September teammate of the month inside the Clubhouse Judith.

Judith is all the way from Germany, but is a special part of our family. She is someone who has absolutely taken her health, fitness, and LIFE by storm this past year.

She talks all about how she was able to do it and her mindset along the way.

Hope you enjoy the chat and if you are interested in joining Judith, myself, and the whole group inside the Clubhouse, I can drop the link the join below.

https://erfclubhouse.com

ERF 417: 9 Months Sober, Getting Strong As Hell, & Mentally Committing To Change, Stephs Story

In this episode of the Eric Roberts Fitness Podcast myself and my assistant Linda speak with one of her coaching clients Steph.

Steph is officially 9+ months sober and she talks about her trials and tribulations with alcohol over the years, as well as what has changed since she stopped drinking.

I also went on Stephs Podcast, This Is Us Sober, so I can link the episode here below!

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/this-is-us-on-fitness-goals-vs-drinking-with-eric-robert/id1640690450?i=1000579646833

Hope you enjoy and if you are interested in coaching, I can link that application form here below!

Join Our 1:1 Coaching Program!

ERF 416: Intentionally Gaining Weight To Build Muscle, Changing Your Diet In A Day, & Being “Strong” Not “Skinny”, Pattis Story

In this episode of the Eric Roberts Fitness Podcast I speak with one of my 1:1 online coaching clients Patti.

Patti is someone who we have gone through our first intentional calorie surplus phase together where she intentionally gains weight to build more muscle.

She talks about that experience & how it has affected her, as well as talking on other topics like the scale, wanting to be “strong” and not skinny, and hw she changed her entire diet in one day.

Hope you enjoy the podcast and if you do, feel free to leave a 5 star rating and review.

Also, if you were interested in coaching with our team, I can drop the link here below.

Join Our 1:1 Coaching Program!

How To Split Up Workout Days : Your Complete Guide

how to split up workout days

One of the most underrated and overlooked parts of working out, how to split up workout days.

Sure, you can kind of just go into the gym, do some random machines, and hope for the best.

Or, you can follow another random youtube video workout that has you dying and out of breath in t minus 69 seconds.

Yet just to be quite frank with you, neither one of those are going to get you the results you are looking for.

Now don’t get me wrong, it is certainly better than not working out at all. You doing any exercise is something you should be damn proud of.


Yet that’s just it, those two things I mentioned above are exercise. You are not following a real program.

You are just kind of “guessing” instead of following a real program, which means, you will get “guessing” results.

If you want to maximize your results and take things to the next level, this article is for you, so stick around and read the whole way through.

How To Split Up Workout Days

How Many Days Per Week?

Before diving into the meat and potatoes of how to split up workout days, let’s first lay out how many days you are looking to workout.

For this article, when I say “workout”, I mean strength training and or any kind of high intensity work (ie, hiit cardio, which we will talk about later in this article).

I am not necessarily speaking to the lower intensity modalities of training, like low intensity steady state cardio and or simply walking / getting steps in. (Which yes, walking IS in fact exercise!).

Though I will talk about ALL forms of exercise in this article and how you can fit it into a weekly workout split, when I say “workout” I mean higher effort / higher intensity work.

Therefore, I recommend someone “working out” anywhere from 2-5x per week, depending on a few different variables. (Which yes, we will cover soon, don’t worry!).

This is the “sweet spot” I have usually found that allows people to not only see progress, but also be able to sustainably fit it into their lifestyle.

It sounds like a great idea to workout 6 or 7x per week, trust me, I used to do that. Not only did I workout 7x per week I did two a days 7x per week.

I am speaking from experience here. Before the end of this article you will learn why working out say 3-5x per week is going to get you MORE results than working out 6-7x per week.

People often think “more is better”. Working out 7x per week must clearly allow you to see more progress than working out 4x per week, right?!

Wrong.

In fact, why don’t we just go ahead and cover it right about now.

Working Out LESS To See MORE Results

Something the average gym goer doesn’t understand is this.

You don’t make progress when you workout. That’s not when your body changes.

During your workout, your body actually breaks down. Working out is a stress on your body.

It is a “good” stress and a stress that is needed in order to change your body, yet a stress nonetheless.

Therefore you don’t change your body when you are doing your workout, you change your body when you RECOVER from that workout.

If your body is broken down and stressed, how can it change? Well, it recovers from that stress and says “oh damn, that was tough! We need to adapt to that stress in order to make sure we can withstand that stress next time!”.

Thus, how the “adaptation” stage comes about. This is where your body changes by building more muscle, getting stronger, changing in size / shape, etc.

Three stages. Stress, recover, adapt. The adaptation stage is the stage you need to get to in order to change.

Get it?

Well, here’s the deal. Remember how I said working out is a “Good” stress?

It can be, for sure, if you are able to recover from that stress. Yet if you are placing more stress on your body than what it can recover from, you are going to be under recovered.

I like to think of this like money. Let’s say a pair of shoes you want costs $100. If you got $100, then hell yea you can pay for it and get those new pair of shoes!

But, if it costs $100, and you only have $75, sucks to suck bud but you won’t be getting said pair of shoes, no matter how much you kick, scream, or yell.

Just the law of the land.

Same goes for recovering from workouts. You only have so many recovery points to go around and working out isn’t the only “stress” you put on your body.

There is stress if you aren’t sleeping a full 8-9hrs per night, plus work stress, relationship stress, kid stress. I could go on and on.

If you have 100 recovery points to go around and your stress in total is 125.

Sorry Jack but you aren’t going to change your physique, get stronger, build muscle, any of it!

Quite literally the only way you can do that is by having this recovery stage completed which then leads into the adaptation phase.

Therefore most people who try to workout 6-7x per week are simply running themselves in circles by putting more stress on their body than what their body can actually recover from.

This leads to under recovery, burnout, plateau, and no progress.

Now, can SOME people workout say 6x per week and see progress?

Sure, some can. Usually those who..

  • sleep 8-9hrs per night
  • are in a calorie surplus (eating MORE food than their body burns intentionally )
  • potentially are on performance enhancing drugs to speed up their recovery
  • lives a very, very low stress lifestyle
  • has their nutrition dialed in with nutrient dense Whole Foods, high protein, tons of fruits + veggies, etc

& on and on.

But the average Joe (which, I consider myself!) who lives a real life, has other stressors (work, kids, spouse, etc), working out intensely 6x per week is just going to be a lot to recover from. Bottom line.

Opposed to working out somewhere between say 2-5x per week, you will be able to put that “good” stress on your body, while also being able to recover from it, and see progress in the end.

Which isn’t that why you are working out in the first place, to see progress?

Happy dances and smiles all around!

Does that make sense?

How To Split Up Workout Days : “Bro Splits”

how to split up workout days

Now that we know working out somewhere between 2-5x per week is going to be most optimal, let’s also talk a bit of science here.

You have probably seen before the typical “bro splits” where someone will do something like…


Monday : Chest

Tuesday : Back

Wednesday : Shoulders

Thursday : Arms

Friday : Legs


And they repeat that week to week. Essentially just doing one body part per day, hitting each body part once per week.

Unless you are on steroids or performance enhancing drugs, this is going to be something you do NOT want to do. Let’s talk about why.

There is something called “volume” in your workouts. There are a few different ways to define volume, but for the purpose of this article, let’s define volume as

The number of working sets per muscle group per week


A working set means if your life depended on it, you MAYBE could have done 1-3 more reps in that set for that exercise. Maybe.

So if you were supposed to do 10 reps on a lat pulldown, you need to get to that 10th rep and say you MAYBE could’ve done 1-3 more reps, maybe. That is a “working set”.

Volume does not include warm up sets or sets where you do not push super close to failure for whatever rep range you are doing.

Volume only includes working sets taken close to or at failure.

Now that we have that down, let’s break down some of the research.

According to the research analysis by James Krieger & others, the amount volume needed per muscle group per week to see change in your body is

10-20 working sets per muscle group per week

This typically refers to the bigger muscle groups like glutes, chest, back, quads, hamstrings , etc.

Smaller muscle groups, like biceps, triceps, side / front / and rear delts may be a bit less, but that is because they get worked during your bigger muscle group work.

For example, if you are doing a bench press, you are inherently going to work some tricep.

Or if you are doing a chin up, you are inherently going to work some bicep.


Depending on the muscle group, your experience level, and how you set your split up, these smaller muscle groups may need somewhere between 5-10 direct sets per muscle group per week.

That is if you are really trying to improve that specific muscle group. If you are someone who building huge bicep peaks isn’t overly important to you, you may be able to get away with less and or even minimal to no direct bicep work. Again, this all depends on the individual.

Yet for this article, let’s stick with the 10-20 sets per muscle group per week data because without that, the smaller muscle group sets per muscle group per week won’t matter anyway.

Cool, we know we need to hit somewhere between 10-20 sets per muscle group per week.


Well why can’t we just do that all in one day?

Just absolutely obliterate our chest or glutes with 20 sets in one workout?

Well again, this things called science * Cue the magical stars and rainbows *.

Once again, according to research analysis by James Krieger, studies show that after about somewhere between 8-12 working sets per muscle group per workout, you start to see diminishing returns.

Think of it like a bell curve. You are able to add sets and push hard until you reach about a certain point. After that certain point, the bell curve starts to drop off and you start to actually make LESS progress.

how to split up workout days bell curve


This is what happens after you pass let’s just take the middle number and say 10 sets per muscle group per workout.


Why is this? Many reasons.

From a scientific standpoint, muscle protein synthesis starts to get negatively affected once you pass the top of the bell curve.

But also from a “practical” standpoint, if you are training with hard, intense, working sets.

Sets that you are taking very close to failure.. After you reach the 8, 9, 10 set per muscle group mark for that session.. You are gassed.

No other way around it, and if you aren’t, this is the sign you aren’t training anywhere near hard enough.

I see people do these workouts that call for like 25 total sets of chest or glutes in one workout. They’ll have something like

Hip thrust 5 sets of 10

Squats 4 sets of 8

Lunges 4 sets of 8

Glute kick back 4 sets of 12

RDL 4 sets of 10

And on and on.

No chance in hell that workout is going to yield any results for you.

There is simply no way you are going to be able to go close to failure on those exercises for that much volume.

You might fail from a muscular endurance standpoint, but that’s working more of a cardiovascular stress, not a muscle building / strength training stress.

Which, when we talk about seeing change in strength and muscle adaptations, one of if not the biggest components is having proper intensity. Aka, going close to muscular failure, not just muscular endurance or cardiovascular failure.

By doing more than 10 sets per muscle group per workout, your intensity and how close to failure dips off, which means your results do to.

But wait, we needed 10-20 sets per muscle group per week to see progress?!

Yep so that means if you have the typical “bro” split of working out one body part per day, you can only hit the minimum threshold of about 10 sets per week.


Therefore you are automatically handicapping your results by choosing this split due to the fact you won’t be able to increase your volume at all throughout the week.

It also makes it so you spike muscle protein synthesis in that muscle group ONE time.. It takes 48-72 hrs to recover.. But then you don’t spike it again in that muscle until next week.

It has this HUGE spike up one day, yet the rest of the week it is decreasing and then dormant until next week.

There are benefits to having multiple muscle protein synthesis spikes in a muscle multiple times throughout the week.

Therefore, the typical bro split, is not going to be the most optimal route to take when talking about how to set up workout days.

Hitting your muscle groups 2-3x throughout the week with a bit more moderate volume each session generally lead to more results over time.

How To Set Up Workout Days : Recovery Days

how to split up workout days : rest days

Another thing to consider when talking about how to set up workout days is taking into consideration rest days.

Again, looking at the science, it shows us that when you workout a muscle group, you want to be waiting at least 48 hours, if not 72 hours to hit that muscle group again (reference The Science & Development of Muscle Hypertrophy by Brad Schoenfield).

This is because if you workout the muscle before it is done going through the muscle protein synthesis / recovery process, you impair that process.

Which is going to impair results because remember, like we said, unless you recover from your workouts you cannot adapt.


If you can’t adapt, you can’t change.

Not to mention that if you continuously hit a muscle group back to back to back day after day like a lot of these hiit bootcamps or gym classes do, you not only risk not recovering, but also risk injury.

Your muscles and the surrounding tendons, joints, ligaments, connective tissue, and so on, are not adequately recovering.

This is a big no no for your body. It is going to get very angry with you and backfire sooner or later. Backfire by injuring so that you are FORCED to stop working out.

Which when you consider you want to see progress in your workouts, if you are injured, you can’t workout at all.

If you can’t workout at all, good luck seeing progress!

You won’t be able to be consistent if your workout split is set up poor due to injuring yourself and from not optimizing your recovery.

This is why it is recommend you wait at least 48 hours, if not 72 hours.

If you are working out glutes on Monday, you should not hit glutes til at least Wednesday, if not Thursday.

How To Set Up Workout Days : 2-5 days

Alright, now that we have the knowledge from the previous sections, let’s actually dive into what some weekly workout splits will look like for 2-5 days, respectively.

You may be wondering “Eric, how the H E DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS am I supposed to hit muscle groups 2x per week with adequate volume if I am only working out 2-5x per week?!”.

Don’t worry, I got you.


Let’s take 2x a week for example.

2x Per Week Workouts

I will be very honest with you, 2x per week workouts are not my favorite workouts by any stretch of the imagination.

You are quite limited in options here and you will inherently not be able to hit as much volume as you would with other options we will list out.

Yet if you insist on “only” being able to workout 2x per week, I would 100% go with 2 Full Body Days.

Something like..


Monday : Day 1 Full Body (A)

Thursday : Day 2 Full Body (B)

This way you have a few days in between like we talked about above to let your muscles recover to be able to optimize progress and hit it hard the next session.

Also, since you are working your full body each workout, you are hitting your muscle groups 2x per week and can work in adequate volume.

Now I will say, you may really need to bias specific muscle groups if you are taking this route because you only have so much volume / time to spend in a workout.

So you may really want to focus on say glutes and back and make your workouts very focused on those two while keeping everything else more so just at “enough” to get by.

Also, before you ask, yes those workouts should be different workouts.

I wrote an entire article on why if you want to check it out HERE.


Yet for some cliff notes, you see the most progress when you hit your muscles from different angles, resistance profiles, and exercise variations.

If you do the same workout both days, you are missing out on an entire day where you could be throwing in different exercise variations, hitting the muscles from different angles, etc.

How many exercises per session?

Well, it depends.

I would say anywhere from 6-12 exercises per session.

If you want help on how to structure your workouts, I can link a video I did HERE On my youtube that will help you out a ton.

Again, I will say, if you are only working out 2x per week, you are not someone who is SUPER keen on making a TON of progress because if you were, you would be probably opting for the 3 or 4x per week option we are going to discuss here in a second.

Not trying to sound harsh just being honest. I know you are “busy”, but we all are. Today, I woke up at 4am this morning and it is currently 6pm as I am writing this article.

I will work til about 9pm and do it all over again tomorrow. Not to brag about how much I work, but to say we all make time for the things that are very important to us.

I don’t have to sit here and write this article to you, for free.

I am doing it because I value you and want you to win.

The same goes for your fitness. If you want to really maximize your workouts I’d shoot for the 3 or 4x a week option we will cover now.

3x Per Week Workouts

Now it is time to cover how to split up workout days if you are doing 3x per week workouts.

Before I dive into this, I just want to make this point.

Oftentimes I get people asking me “Eric, is working out 3x per week really enough to see progress?!”.

The only answer I have to this question is to drop below some of my clients transformation pics here below.

how to split up workout days 3x per week

All of these people you see above have worked out 3x per week, every week, consistently.

You can be the judge to let me know if 3x per week workouts “work” or not 😉 .

Now, when it comes to how to set them up, I personally like the option of something like.

Monday : Day 1 – Lower Body Day

Wed : Day 2 – Upper Body Day

Fri or Sat : Day 3 Full Body Day

This way you once again allow for proper recovery in between sessions, as well as you can hit your muscle groups 2x per week with this split since the full body day you are hitting lower and upper.

Sometimes people will ask about a 3 day per week full body workout. You can do this, I am not the biggest fan typically because I believe it is a bit harder to recover from for most people.


Plus, I think being able to have a lower and upper body day

  1. Allows you to focus on those specific muscles a bit more which most people enjoy
  2. Allows you to put more volume (working sets) into your weekly routine since you have a whole day spent on ½ of the body instead of the full body

4x Per Week Workouts

In my opinion the “gold standard” of how to split up workout days.

4x per week workouts are my personal favorite as well as I have used it on literally thousands of clients and Clubhouse members to get them kick a** results.

The 4x per week really allows you to work in a good amount of volume over a weekly basis, while also still allowing for optimal recovery.

I would split up the 4x per week workouts like this below.

Monday : Day 1 – Lower Body (A)

Tuesday : Day 2 – Upper Body (A)

Wed : Rest

Thursday : Day 3 – Lower Body (B)

Friday : Day 4 – Upper Body (B)

In case you aren’t familiar, the A and B indicates different workouts.

So yes, each of these 4 workouts you should be having different workouts. Again, if you need further clarification on this, check out this article HERE.

This split is money because as you can see, you are hitting your muscle groups 2x per week, while also allowing for proper recovery in between.

It also allows you to add more volume because you now have a 4th day and the days are dedicated to ½ of the body instead of the whole body.

People sometimes ask if they have to rest in between or if they can go all 4 days in a row.

You CAN go all 4 days in a row, yes, I just typically don’t recommend that because that day off in between really lets you go into the latter half of your weekly workouts recovered, refreshed, and ready to kill it!

As opposed to those last 2 workouts being “half assed” because you were exhausted and tired from the first two workouts in the week.

But if you absolutely need to, yes you can do all 4 of these back to back since they are different muscle groups.

5x Per Week Workouts

how to split up workout days 5x per week

When talking about how to split up workout days and 5 days a week, this is typically something I reserve for advanced individuals who are very focused on body building.

The reason is 5x per week allows you to put more volume on more specific muscle groups.

Unless you are advanced, you typically do not need to spend the extra volume on the muscle groups.

Also, like I mentioned, unless you ARE focused on body building, then you typically don’t care about doing 3 extra sets for your side delts to make your delts pop more.

Or you don’t care about doing 3 extra sets of biceps to make your biceps pop more.

You are more focused on simply wanting to get stronger, get healthier, build muscle, drop body fat, etc.

Also, 5x per week workouts doesn’t allow for much life flexibility.

For example, what if you wanted to take a long weekend with your spouse.. But you can’t because you gotta get that friday workout?

Or if something pops up with work or school or kids or anything.. Most “normal” people who again aren’t super focused on bodybuilding can’t or don’t want to consistently workout 5x per week for months and years on end.

Again, I would know, I tried.

Therefore if you are NOT focused a ton on bodybuilding – I would stick to 3-4x per week workouts.

Now if you are focused more on bodybuilding, which to be honest I am for certain periods of the year, I would suggest a 5x per week split and it would look like this.

Monday : Day 1 Lower Body (A)

Tuesday : Day 2 Upper Body

Wed : rest

Thursday : Day 3 Lower Body (B)

Friday : Push Day

Sat : Pull Day


Push just means pushing muscles workout (chest, shoulders, triceps).

Pull just means pulling muscles workout (back, biceps, rear delt).

Again, this would allow for adequate recovery while also working each muscle group 2x per week.

This time since you have a “push” and a “pull” day you can usually put more volume on muscles like biceps, triceps, and shoulders.

Or, if you were focused on glutes or legs a bit more, you could do

Monday : Day 1 Lower Body (A)

Tuesday : Day 2 Upper Body (A)

Wed: Day 3 Lower Body (B)

Thurs : Day 4 Upper Body (B)

Fri or Sat : Day 5 Lower Body {C}

This way you could throw extra volume on your leg days as needed.

How To Split Up Workout Days : What About Cardio!?

As mentioned above, when I talk about “workouts” I am solely speaking to weight training above.

For “cardio” here is what I usually tell my clients.

I would simply

  • Get 5-10k steps in per day, closer to the 7-10k mark as best as you can
  • Once you do that, if you WANT to work in extra cardio on top of that, I’d work in 1-3 days 15-30min per week of low intensity steady state cardio (LISS). This is cardio that is something like walking on the treadmill, using a bike, going swimming, using an elliptical machine, etc. All while keeping your heart rate LOW. You should be able to hold a conversation while doing the cardio, that is how you know you are in the right heart rate zone.

Why the low intensity steady state and not HIIT?

Well, HIIT is very taxing and stressful on the body from a “recoverability” perspective. Remember how we said you can only recover but from so much.

Hiit takes up a lot of recovery, where at steady state low intensity cardio actually helps promote recovery (so as long as you follow the guidelines above and don’t do too much of it).

Plus, from a “calorie burning” perspective, the amount of calories you burn from hiit vs LISS is minimal at best.

The negatives that can come from too much hiit cardio would again dig yourself a deeper hole in recovery which can have you not see progress.

Therefore, you should leave the fat loss component of your journey up to your nutrition.

If your goal is to maximize your workouts and recovery, LISS is going to be a better option than hiit in 99.9% of scenarios.

How To Split Up Workout Days : 6x Per Week Push, Pull, Legs

As mentioned above, I am not a fan of working out 6x per week, for all the mentions listed above.

Yet I get this question a lot so I will offer my thoughts. There is a split that is a “Push, Pull, Legs” split.

This is working out 6x per week with again, the push pull legs cycle split up 2x per week with one rest day.

It is a split I personally ran in my life for a while. What happened?

I started to plateau on my progress (muscle development, strength gains, etc). The burn out started to get to me because I was under recovering. I did not have a very “flexible” lifestyle.

Now, I am not saying you CAN’T do it. Some people do it and love it, cool.

Again, I would say you would need to check all of the boxes talked about above (calorie surplus, sleep 8-9hrs a night, etc etc).

And you have to be someone who is really focused on bodybuilding, yet even then, it’s not something I would personally recommend.

I don’t think if you are working out 6x per week you are going to either be able to recover from it or be able to keep the proper intensity of going close enough to failure. Which, again, is a massive part of seeing progress.

Just my two cents.

Which Split Is The “Best”?!

Well, there really is no “best” one.

Again, like I mentioned above, I typically recommend a 3-4x per week split. For most people I have found this is a sweet spot to be able to see kick a** progress, while also making it a sustainably part of your life.

But between the two of those, there is no “right” answer. It would depend on you and your schedule.

Remember, if you follow a 3x week workout with 100% consistency, you will see better results than following a 4x per week workout with 70% consistency because “life” happens.

Or if you know you like a routine of 4x per week, rock with 4x per week.


The only “right” or “best” one is the one you can be the most consistent with.

But Wait, How Do I Set Up My Workouts?!

Listen, quite frankly, that is an entirely different article in of itself.

In fact, I did write an article on it HERE.

As well as did a video on it HERE.


If you would like to see some examples of this in action, I’d highly suggest checking out those resources.

This one article you just read is one small sliver of what goes into creating a “real training program” I talked about above.

Or, of you would like for me to simply just take the guesswork out of it for you with a plan that tells you exactly what to do, I suggest you check out my Clubhouse HERE.

The Clubhouse is a program where I create 3-4x per week training programs and you get a new one every single month.

How To Split Up Workout Days : Wrapping Up

Whew, I knew there was a lot of information here. I hope it helped and if you need to, go back and reread some areas.

As mentioned above, typically a 3 or 4x per week workout split would be the “sweet spot”.

If you are someone who really can only workout 2x per week, I would go with that.

Or if you are someone who is more focused on body building, I would go with 5x per week.

I hope this article helped you and if you feel you need even more in-depth 1:1 coaching, you can fill out our application form HERE to see if we may be a good fit for coaching.

Look to chat soon.

-E